M double U

2019 India (Beyond the Taj…)

Introduction

On the 9th of April I returned home from the Big India Immersion 2018 and even before the plane touched down in Dusseldorf I had already made up my mind I wanted to return. It had been an overwhelming, exciting but also exhausting trip and looking back at the pictures and digging deep in my memories only makes my jaw drop in amazement of the variety of things I had seen, events I was able to witness or participate in and the sheer beauty that had surrounded me (and yes, also the less beautiful sights had left an overwhelming impression…)

It had also been a trip that clearly showed my limitations. The first couple of weeks I was running purely on adrenaline and excitement but after 5 or 6 weeks my body started to protest against the things that my mind had planned. By then I was exhausted, got terribly ill, and in spite of the fact that I decided to continue my journey I could only do so by taking much more rest and seriously slowing down. And so I did…

I had tremendously enjoyed the Sights, Sounds, Smell, Touch and Taste of India, well, at least in the places that I had visited as India is so vast and diverse one cannot see it all in a ten week journey.

Although later in 2018 I also visited Montenegro, Croatia and Indonesia, India never left my mind and a plan started to develop, a plan that would better fit my possibilities.

This time I choose to begin my seven week journey at India’s most remote state, the Andaman Islands. They are situated more than 1000km off the east coast in the middle of the Bay of Bengal, connected to the mainland only by flights and ferries. It’s a remote and tropical archipelago coated in natural beauty. Its mangrove-lined shores and untouched coral reefs teem with marine life that promises divers of all abilities unique underwater experiences. Filled with colorful fish and kaleidoscopic corals, the crystal-clear waters of the Andaman Sea feature some of the world’s richest and least spoilt marine reserves – perfect for snorkeling and scuba diving.

I could not think of a better and more relaxing way to prepare for my exploration than spending 10 days on the beach, escaping the winter at home, relax, wander along the beach and perhaps a couple of dives.

There were still so many parts in India that I hadn’t seen yet, one more beautiful and interesting than the other that it was difficult to choose an itinerary for the exploration part of my journey. Odisha, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh came in mind. With so many intriguing places it was difficult to make a choice. 

I finally made up my mind to return to Delhi, visit Neha and her husband Anmol and then travel overland to Mumbai. After 10 years it would be nice to see the Taj Mahal again, the fort and temples in Orchha and then head on south towards the state of Maharashtra to discover new Sights, Sounds, Smells, Touch and Tastes of India…

For the end of my exploration I choose Mumbai, a city I never really could connect to but with having learned to appreciate different sights of India over the years by now Mumbai somehow intrigued me. I decided to book 4 nights over there and give this metropolis of extremes a second chance,

Still having two weeks of my journey left I thought it was a good idea to slow down again and head to Little Cove Yoga resort, a place that has done me so well over the last couple of years. Two weeks of beach, sun, yoga and meditation and awesome vegetarian food. The perfect way to finish off this seven week trip.

Not so much traveling as usual perhaps but that was intentional after last years experience. I did not want to face a situation again that I could almost not head on. India can be a very lonely place in such circumstances.

A relaxing block both at the beginning and the end of my journey and in between sites both old and new. Before I even started I knew that without doubt I would come home with visions and memories of the most spectacular experiences one could wish for.

I was ready more enchantment, I was ready for India beyond the Taj…

Part 1 Andaman Islands

Havelock Island

Neil Island

Port Blair

Part 2 Delhi to Mumbai Overland

Delhi

Agra

Fatehpur Sikri

Gwallior

Orchha

Sanchi

Bjopur & Bhimbetka

Ajanta Caves

Aurangabad

Mumbai

Part 3 Little Cove Yoga retreat Goa (Heaven is still a place on earth…)

Little Cove